By Doug Porter
Today’s news round up starts with the announcement from Southern California Edison saying that the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station is finished. Kaput. Shutdown. Over.
Citing “continuing uncertainty about when or if it might return to service”, the company concluded that questions over when or if the plant might return to service was not good for customers or investors. Concerns about the environment or planet earth were not mentioned.
Since the shutdown of the nuclear power generating station in January of 2012, there has been an epic struggle over whether the plant could safely be returned to operating status. A small radioactive leak in faulty steam tubes prompted the closure and subsequent questions over the plant’s processes and procedures have lead to protests, innumerable hearings and calls by California Senator Barbara Boxer for the Justice Department to investigate Southern California Edison and its statements to federal regulators about swapping out generators.
Opposition to the plant at San Onofre has energized environmental activists in Southern California over the past two years. It will be interesting to see what activities they’ll focus on now that this episode is winding down.
There is a terrific collection of all the stories surrounding this saga at KPBS, complete with timeline.
For those of you who haven’t been paying attention, the last 48 hours have been filled with revelation upon revelation about US government electronic data collection programs. The Guardian, which stared things off with Glen Greenwald’s story about a Patriot Act Section 215 order, continues to be the go-to news site for information.
New developments since yesterday’s column here on the subject, include disclosure of a NSA program called PRISM that involves tapping into the central servers of nine major internet companies, the revelation that credit card transactions are indeed part of the collection program, the release byAnonymous of NSA documents outlining the original vision for the program and a stern warning from James R. Clapper, Director of National Intelligence that even talking about all this stuff is a bad idea.
Meanwhile, President Obama is meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping at a gigantic estate here inCalifornia called Sunnylands.
After months of leaked reports about Beijing’s cyber espionage campaign against US corporations and military targets in the lead-up to the Sunnylands meeting, Obama was expected to put cyber-security near the top of the agenda—and he probably will still do so.
But now Xi has an easy rejoinder to any criticisms from Obama: how can the US complain when has been caught running a large-scale data harvesting program? The NSA’s inclusion of Americans among its targets has raised the most controversy, but don’t forget that the program is purportedly aimed at foreigners—surely many Chinese among them.
What’s more, the central US criticism has been that by targeting corporations and intellectual property, China’s online intrusions don’t follow the well-established rules of nation vs. nation espionage. But the NSA’s snooping suggests that Washington is all too comfortable tweaking rules to its own benefit.
This Tweet says it all:
China built a Great Firewall & people knew they weren’t free. America built a hall of 2-way mirrors & people felt they were free. #PRISM
— Kevin Ruffe (@booksNbeer) June 7, 2013
House GOP to Hispanics: Get Out!
The House of Representatives voted yesterday to support an amendment by nativist Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) to end Department of Homeland Security discretion policies that allow it to delay deportations for young, undocumented immigrants and other people deemed low-priority, effectively demanding the government force out Dreamers who came to the United States as children.
Fortunately, the amendment to the Department of Homeland Security spending bill has zero chance of making it through the Senate. But this vote bodes poorly for any attempts later this summer to get immigration reform legislation through the lower house of Congress.
From Think Progress:
To a chorus of boos from the gallery, House Republicans voted 224-201 on Thursday to approve an amendment that defunds the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. The amendment, from Rep. Steve King (R-IA), undercuts the flexibility that allows the Department of Homeland Security to halt deporting DREAMers and instead focus on people convicted of crimes.
After the vote, the House Hispanic Caucus tweeted,”House Republicans just voted to treat DREAMers and undocumented spouses of servicemembers in the same way as violent criminals.” Only six Republicans voted against the measure.
Are You Sick of These Stories Yet?
From Agence France-Presse via Raw Story:
Hundreds of employees of a Bangladesh garment factory near the capital fell sick on Wednesday after drinking suspected contaminated water in their workplace, police and factory officials said.
“Primarily we suspect the water supply of the Starlight Sweaters factory was poisoned or contaminated,” local industrial police officer Mahfuzur Rahman told AFP from Gazipur, a suburb of Dhaka.
Based Ali, the administrative officer of the factory, told AFP the number of affected workers could be as high as 600.
One of the Good Guys Dies
The New York Times yesterday marked the passing of 101 year old Bob Fletcher, reluctant hero to many California Japanese-Americans. Fletcher quit his job as a California agriculture inspector in the middle of World War II to manage the fruit farms of Japanese families forced to live in internment camps:
Mr. Fletcher and Mr. Tsukamoto had not been close, and Mr. Fletcher had no experience growing the farmers’ specialty, flame tokay grapes, but he accepted the offer and soon quit his job.
For the next three years he worked a total of 90 acres on three farms — he had also decided to run Mr. Tsukamoto’s farm. He worked 18-hour days and lived in the bunkhouse Mr. Tsukamoto had reserved for migrant workers. He paid the bills of all three families — the Tsukamotos, the Okamotos and the Nittas. He kept only half of the profits.
Many Japanese-American families lost property while they were in the camps because they could not pay their bills. Most in the Florinarea moved elsewhere after the war. When the Tsukamotos returned in 1945, they found that Mr. Fletcher had left them money in the bank and that his new wife, Teresa, had cleaned the Tsukamotos’ house in preparation for their return. She had chosen to join her husband in the bunkhouse instead of accepting the Tsukamotos’ offer to live in the family’s house.
Horse Meat-Gate – It’s Obama’s Fault
The lawyer for a southeastern New Mexico company seeking to convert a cattle plant into a horse slaughterhouse is playing the right-wing pity card in his attempts to force the US Department of Agriculture to issue a permit.
Never mind that opening a horsemeat processing plant in the US just might be controversial, especially after all the ‘surprises’ Europeans have been getting in their food lately.
From the Associated Press, via UT-San Diego:
Valley Meat’s application to resume domestic horse slaughter has ignited an emotional, national debate over whether horses are livestock or domestic companions. The company wants to ship horse meat to countries where it is consumed by humans and sold for things like zoo food.
The issue has divided horse rescue and animal welfare groups, ranchers, politicians and Indian tribes about what is the most humane way to deal with the country’s horse overpopulation and the rising number of neglected and starving horses as the West deals with persistent drought.
[Valley Meat Attorney] Dunn compared the process to that of the Internal Revenue Service, which has been accused of subjecting conservative political groups to extra scrutiny when they applied for tax-exempt status.
“Should somebody be looking into whether or not there is direction from the White House to use/abuse USDA/EPA authority with regard to Valley Meat because they are on the other side of a political issue from the president?” Dunn said he wrote to [USDA Attorney] Glass.
City Atty Goldsmith Hoists Himself Up on the Cross
Speaking of pity parties, San Diego City Attorney Jan Goldsmith has a dandy little ditty up on the UT-San Diego’s op-ed page today.
Poor, pitiful Jan. He’s being ‘intimidated’ by strong Mayor Bob Filner.
He starts out by doing the GOP history re-write routine, telling us things went pretty well for his first four years as City Attorney under former Mayor Jerry Sanders. I guess his definition of ‘pretty well’ doesn’t include poor legal advice, gaffs and adverse rulings against the City. No doubt it does include not having his staff cut while the rest of the city’s departments were downsized.
But never mind that. Goldsmith tells us he’s here to “watch them” and will never become a lap dog for the evil Democrat who currently holds the post of mayor.
Some observers are saying this op-ed is laying the ground for an eventual run at San Diego’s top job. I say it’s the squawking of a sore loser.
The Perfect Video for Today
In the wake of all the recent disclosures about government spying, this video by the Police seems apropos:
Here are the essential lyrics for those who can’t watch videos at this moment for whatever reason:
Every breath you take, Every move you make, Every bond you break, Every step you take, I’ll be watching you
Every single day, Every word you say, Every game you play, Every night you stay
I’ll be watching you
Every move you make, Every vow you break, Every smile you fake, Every claim you stake, I’ll be watching you
O can’t you see?, You belong to me
And then there’s this variation, going around the Twittersphere:
Every Snapchat you take, Every email you make, Every app you break, Every bit coin you take, I’ll be watching you.
On This Day: 1775 – The United Colonies changed their name to the United States. 1966 – Sony Corporation unveiled its brand new consumer home videotape recorder. The black and white only unit sold for $995. 1972 – The musical “Grease” opened on Broadway. It had been playing off-Broadway for about 4 months.
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